Imagine you are thinking about a problem you need to solve, nothing's coming to mind, and all of a sudden you get a dozen different ideas at once. Is there a word that expresses this sudden flow of ideas? I could only find brainwave although I'm not sure if it refers to a flow of ideas rather than just one clever idea. I'm looking for a word that's commonly used.

  • 2
    I would just call that a "sudden rush of ideas."
    – Robusto
    Apr 22 '15 at 16:41
  • Not sure there's a good single word. "Brainwave" is certainly not it.
    – Hot Licks
    Apr 22 '15 at 16:41
  • 3
    Inspiration, revelation, epiphany?
    – Joel Brown
    Apr 22 '15 at 16:49
  • 3
    In American English it would not be a brainwave but a brainstorm.
    – choster
    Apr 22 '15 at 16:53
  • 2
    A brainstorm refers more to the process by which ideas are generated, rather than the ideas themselves. For example, "That was a very productive brainstorm." or "...brainstorming session." Apr 22 '15 at 19:21

"Brainwave(s)" is more commonly used in reference to an electrical impulse(s) in the brain, though Google does list its informal usage for a sudden clever idea.

For a more established and common term you could go with "flood," as in “a flood of ideas.” As to its frequency of usage, I found many Google hits, one of which I have linked, below.

Classic symptoms of hypomania include mild euphoria, a flood of ideas. See Wikipedia Hypomania


To sum up, as answered by Little Eva and Robusto, "a sudden rush of ideas" and "a flood of ideas" seem to be the best ways of expressing this. The latter seems to get more google hits, although the former seems a little more casual.

  • Bharath, this is an evaluative commentary on Robusto's comment and my answer. This is not an answer to your own OP. Moreover, selecting it as your officially accepted answer doesn't make much (or any) sense. The idea here is to reward the author of the answer you found most accurate or helpful by selecting that answer.
    – user98990
    Apr 27 '15 at 8:37
  • I see your point. Although, I felt Robusto's comment was closest to what I was looking for and wanted it to be documented as an answer. That way others can find it later. I'm not sure what the policy is on this. And, I did see that you can answer your own question and accept it. See here: english.stackexchange.com/help/self-answer Apr 27 '15 at 8:57
  • Ping Robusto and ask him to post his comment as an answer so you can select it.
    – user98990
    Apr 27 '15 at 9:01
  • And, yes, Bharath, it's perfectly acceptable to answer your own OP. However, you haven't answered your OP, but merely evaluated your favorite responses.
    – user98990
    Apr 27 '15 at 9:38
  • 1
    Oh yeah! why didn't I think of that? -_- Well, thanks! :-) @robusto, could you post your comment as an answer so that I can accept it as the official one? Apr 27 '15 at 10:04

Ideation is the process of forming ideas. The Johnson O'Connor Research Foundation has a way of measuring the process of ideation. People to whom ideas come quickly and relatively effortlessly score high in ideation (I'm probably in the 95th percentile, according to their measurement). I'm assuming that the standard bell-shaped curve applies vis a vis ideation, with few people scoring very high or very low, and everyone one else falling somewhere within the curve.

I suggest, then, that a flood of ideation might suit your purposes. Perhaps a torrent of ideation would also suffice. Sometimes a paradigm shift instigates a flood of ideation, since along with a new way of looking at something (e.g., the universe, language, music, art), new ideas are bound to come flooding in, ideas which are compatible with the new--perhaps revolutionary--paradigm.

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